To put it politely, Shenmue III has the potential to charm existing fans of the Shenmue saga, if only in how much it painstakingly recreates the stilted beauty of its two predecessors. However, if judged on its merits alone and/or by a non-Shenmue fan, this game just feels like a whole bunch of wasted Kickstarter money. If there's one thing that Shenmue III proves, it's that bringing new fans into the fold was never Ys Net's goal.
It wouldn't be totally fair to call Need for Speed Heat a bad game, but given the exciting high-speed material it's defined by, it is a disappointingly boring one. Small blessings like the lack of over-aggressive microtransactions and an incredibly in-depth car customization suite can't make up for gameplay and progression loops which, at best, feel routine and archaic, and at worst frustrating and obtuse.
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot is certainly not the first game that has disappointed me at launch, and hopefully it will join the list of games I was initially disappointed with but grew to love thanks to their respective developers' continued devotion and care. I know it's not the safest of bets given the Call of Duty franchise's annualized rollout, but I honestly want to see Modern Warfare continue to flourish as much as I'm sure the folks at Infinity Ward do.
Unlike its predecessor, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint risks alienating the very community it was built for due to its over-reliance on RPG-esque looting and leveling mechanics. However, shooter fans who can make peace with the game's loot-driven economy and pervasive microtransactions will find a lot to enjoy in the moment-to-moment gameplay. Breakpoint isn't quite the tactical shooter sequel fans asked for, but there's no denying the amount of long-term value it offers to shooter fans of all stripes.
Sequels aren't always a safe prospect to bet on, but The Surge 2 is one investment that Souls-like fans definitely won't be disappointed with. The game's visceral combat, robust RPG elements, and immersive exploration mechanics come together to create a second outing that's just as compelling, if not more so, than its predecessor.
Thanks to GreedFall's impressively diverse roleplaying and combat systems, it's the sort of game that any sort of RPG fan would enjoy, whether they prefer playing as the tough warrior, the cunning rogue, the wise spellcaster, or any combination of those archetypes they can think of. It may hew closely to the template that BioWare created many years ago, but GreedFall also proves there's still a lot of potential for expansive single-player RPGs that put player choice first.
It's unfortunate that Gears 5 continues the trend of 'games that were clearly shipped before they were ready' since its diverse offering of different gameplay experiences is virtually unmatched by any other shooter game or franchise. Once The Coalition has ironed out the campaign performance issues and multiplayer network problems, this latest Gears of War game has a very bright future and is a must-play for any fans of the shooter genre no matter their individual tastes.
Remnant: From the Ashes sometimes struggles to present a cohesive, balanced vision for the kind of game it's trying to be, but nestled within that chaotic swirl of ideas is a strong core that's supported by equally strong gameplay. As long as you don't mind enduring highly difficult bosses and a lack of ambient polish, Remnant is the perfect sort of game for players who appreciate both the Souls-like and tactical third-person shooting genres.
I'm not going to go so far as to call Generation Zero a straight cash grab, but charging $40 for a game that was clearly rushed out the door is a hard sin to ignore. I'm not entirely sure what Avalanche's final vision for Generation Zero was, but it clearly wasn't confident enough in that vision to give the game the proper care and resources that were required.
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software has proven once again that has no qualms about pushing its own boundaries. The studio has made a name for itself by creating incredibly difficult games, but the breadth of innovation spread across the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and now Sekiro shows how good the studio is at defying fan expectations. Sekiro isn't perfect, but like the various Soulsborne games before it, From's latest shows the wisdom in pushing players beyond their pre-conceived limits.